Thursday, 1 May 2014


' For i'm to be the Queen of the May Mother, i'm to be Queen of the May'

Happy May Day and Beltane blessing to you all! 

This little lady is one of my favourite of all the May Queens taken by Julia Margaret Cameron, a lady who has given me so much inspiration and one of the most famous photographers and inspring female pioneers of her time. 

This also very nicely ties in with the second istallment of my new blog feature...let me introduce you to 'The Isle Of Wight's best kept secret' and Julias beautiful home, the majestic 'Dimbola'. 

We spend our days looking out over at the Isle Of Wight from the other side of the water. Those beautiful chalky White cliffs of hers and the mysterious Three 'Needle' points with their handsome lighthouse leading seafarers to safety.

So when Red Funnel very kindly offered to take us over the seas for the day we couldn't wait to get exploring her roads and towns (all Nine of them). 

We went out of season so the obvious places to visit like Osborne House & the many beautiful National Trust sites on the Island were closed and off the agenda. Lucky for us, as if they had been we would never have stumbled upon the magical hisory of Freshwater and would never have found Dimbola. 
I'm sure I don't need to fill you in on just what a wonderful woman Julia was, but I didn't quite realise what an affect her creative vision had on so many lives (that'sEllen Terry above). The museum guide that showed us around told us many wild stories about her ability to play cupid, her persuasive talents, getting all her bohemian friends down from London and the crazy parties she hosted. I would highly reccomend talking to the voluenteers if you visit, there is just so much that Wikipedia can not tell you! 
Saved in the 1970's from demolition Dimbola became a project and useful exhibition space for celebrities such as David Bailey, Charlton & Lydia Heston, Patrick Lichfield and Lord Snowdon. All generously donating to keep Dimbola open and to celebrate Julias life and work, thus creating the Julia Margaret Cameron Trust. 

Linda McCartney was another key advocate in saving Dimbola's future. It is said that she donated to the trust under the strict instructions that the Café must always stay vegetarian. Much to my delight! I think they have sneakly slipped some fish onto the menu (shame on you) but that's as far as it goes.

Not only vegetarian but also aptly named and themed ' The Mad Hatters Tea Room' because of Dimbola's wonderful connections with Lewis Carroll and Alice Liddle.

I never want these posts to be a replacement for you all actually going to visit the places I feature, so I hope I have included enough pictures to give you a reason to go, but not enough to ruin it for you... and for those far far away, maybe enough to dream of visiting one day? 

Nothing could ever replace the excitement for me of actually being in Freshwater, seeing the beautiful architecture and being physically in a place so well loved by the Fresh Water Circle and all their visitors (Charles Darwin, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Sir John Everett Millais and William Holman Hunt to name a few). So what I am really trying to say is go, go, go! 

The Isle Of Wight is only a short train and ferry journey from London and a stunning holiday destination for anyone further afield. We are already planning a overnight get away as there is just so much to see in such a small place. 

I would like to say such a big thank you to Red Funnel for sending us over to the Island, we absolutely loved it and our journey with you was a delight!  

If you would like to learn more about Dimbola please go and visit their website here

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  1. This sounds like an terrific place to visit, it's on my (endless) list now :)

  2. Ok, this may be your best post yet! I did my Master's degree on Julia Margaret Cameron and visited Dimbola Lodge to do some thesis research. I never took photos, though. Thank you for these. What a beautiful way to revisit an amazing time in my life.

  3. Oh my thank you for sharing, what marvellous work, I confess I had never heard of her thank you for sharing petal xxx

  4. I ADORE JMC. I must visit this place.

  5. This looks so beautiful. I would love to visit someday.

  6. Such dreamy adventures as always Kelly! Lovely.

  7. Gorgeous photos and great info! I adore learning about new places... so thank you!!
    L A

  8. Wow, thank you so mush for sharing..this is a place I must put on the list to visit..and not too far away! Lizzie x

  9. OH! I love Julia Margaret Cameron's work! This is such a beautiful post you've truly made me want to visit. I've never been to the Isle of White but I think I might have to now!

    Your blog is an absolute delight, very happy to have found it, going to follow you now!



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